Ferguson hundred gets Redbacks home
South Australia 8 for 235 (Ferguson 110*, Beer 3-39, Coulter-Nile 3-64) beat Western Australia 7 for 233 (Ronchi 113*, Putland 3-52) by 2 wickets
Callum Ferguson's third one-day century delivered victory to South Australia in a tight match that appeared to have slipped from their grasp. An outstanding and unbeaten 65-run partnership for the ninth wicket between Ferguson and Nathan Lyon saw the Redbacks past Western Australia's 233 with two overs to spare, after Luke Ronchi's hundred rescued the Warriors from a poor start.
The fortunes of both sides changed significantly throughout the contest, as first the Warriors struggled to 7 for 123 before Ronchi and Nathan Rimmington compiled a terrific 110-run stand that pushed them to a competitive 7 for 233. Then it was South Australia's turn to worry, as they lost a wicket from the first ball of their chase and then battled to 8 for 170.
From there, it was Ferguson and Lyon who saved the day for the hosts. Ferguson's classy innings was a career-best as he paced the effort perfectly, taking his time early and playing a few more shots as his partners continued to disappear.
But it was Lyon who struck the winning runs, with a powerful pull for six off Rimmington confirming the two-wicket victory and allowing him to finish unbeaten on 37. Nathan Coulter-Nile had picked up 3 for 64 in a strong display, while Michael Beer was superb with 3 for 39, including Daniel Harris lbw playing back to the first ball of the innings as Marcus North opened up with spin.
The Redbacks had also opened with spin earlier in the day, but it was Gary Putland's early strikes that put Western Australia on the back foot as he swung the ball dangerously and took three wickets in his first spell. The legspinner Cullen Bailey, playing his first one-day game for his state in five years, collected two lower-order wickets before Ronchi led the recovery.
It was a wonderful innings from Ronchi, who has struggled to hold his place as Western Australia's first-choice gloveman in the past couple of seasons. He was watchful early but cut loose later, taking 25 from the last over as the nerves began to affect Kane Richardson.
It was in that 50th over that Ronchi brought up his hundred and the milestone clearly meant a lot, as he pumped his fist and jumped for joy, having secured his place in the team and given the Warriors hope of victory. In the end, their top-order troubles still cost them, and they are still looking for their first win of the Ryobi Cup.